PEORIA, ILLINOIS, US — Approximately $4.5 million in funding for a climate resilience and biomanufacturing initiative at Peoria’s Ag Lab has been included in the House Appropriations Committee’s Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies legislation. The request came at the behest of Representatives Darin LaHood and Cheri Bustos of Illinois.

Located in Peoria, the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) is among the largest agricultural research centers in the United States. NCAUR employs nearly 250 scientists and support staff in research to improve agricultural production, food safety and public health, economic development, and environmental quality.

“The Peoria Ag Lab is a vital part of our community, and the cutting-edge research the Ag Lab performs has a global impact,” LaHood said. “Construction of a research greenhouse will foster new economic opportunities for rural communities in Illinois and foster work on science related to the sustainability of food and energy production. I am proud of the continued bipartisan work with Congresswoman Bustos to advocate on behalf of the Ag Lab, and I look forward to working to ensure the staff at the Ag Lab can continue to be at the forefront of agricultural research for generations to come.”

Bustos added, “Right now, we have an incredible opportunity to rebuild our country, create millions of good-paying jobs in our communities and invest in agricultural research as we build our communities back, better. I’m thrilled to announce that $4.5 million in funding for Peoria Ag Lab’s groundbreaking research initiatives has been included in this legislative package.”

LaHood and Bustos said they submitted the request to initiate novel research programs to develop and utilize crops that improve the climate resilience and sustainability of food and energy production, foster new economic opportunities for rural communities and biomanufacturing industries and enhance the safety and security of the food supply. The initiative has three major components developed in response to specific stakeholder and national needs focused on wheat and barley, sorghum and industrial hemp, LaHood and Bustos said.

In addition to the construction of a climate-controlled greenhouse, the funding is expected to be used to hire scientists and staff across four research units at the Peoria Ag Lab working under USDA-ARS National Programs for Food Safety and Product Quality and New Uses.

The proposal will now advance to the committee mark-up process. The legislation would then need to advance to the full House and Senate before being brought to the president’s desk for consideration.